ERIC Number: ED316941
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Dec-20
Reference Count: N/A
Questioning the New Improved Sorting Machine.
Moore, Donald R.; Davenport, Suzanne
The results of a 2-year study examining the ways that four major urban school systems (New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston) sort students into different schools, tracks, ability groups, and grade levels are summarized in this report. The study looked carefully at the effects of these sorting practices on low-income, minority, limited English-proficient, handicapped, and low-achieving students (described as at risk). Three key systems were examined: (1) admissions to high school; (2) tracking and grouping within high schools; and (3) promotion and non-promotion from grade to grade. The overall effect of the 46 observed program and policy deficiencies was restriction of educational opportunities available to students, especially high risk students. Many so-called reforms proved to be nonbeneficial. For example, some schools increased graduation requirements without helping students meet the new standards. Others had abolished rigid tracking only to institute educational options programs that segregated students. A few recommendations are summarized, including the need for: (1) strengthening groups supporting equity; (2) analyzing the equity and effectiveness of student placement and labeling practices; (3) halting the development of additional options schools and programs; and (4) designing an effective strategy for implementing changes in current placement and labeling practices. (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Parents
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, Madison, WI.
Identifiers - Location: Illinois (Chicago); Massachusetts (Boston); New York (New York); Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)